Statement from Hackensack Meridian Health
September 16, 2022
HPAE's survey and white paper are devoid of facts and should be scrutinized closely for their motives and timing. It is a self-serving propaganda piece timed to coincide with their current contract negotiations.
The truth is that Hackensack Meridian Health has invested millions of dollars into our team members and opened negotiations early to get that money to the union members. Our nurses mean everything to us. They are true American heroes who deserve our utmost respect and gratitude.
Attracting and retaining nursing talent is at a critical juncture. Pandemic fatigue, early retirements and burnout have only exacerbated nursing shortages across the country, and New Jersey is no exception. We have put in place several strategies to ensure that we have highly qualified bedside registered nurses to care for our patients. Our network implemented an across-the-board 3% compensation increase for all team members, added retention bonuses to stabilize critical areas and moved up our salary ranges to be competitive in the market.
We stand by our proven record of protecting all of our team members and our patients, especially during the most challenging health crisis our nation has faced in a century. Our team members are the backbone of our organization and have been on the front lines of this crisis. We will continue to do everything we can to protect them and lead the way in the fight against COVID-19.
During this unprecedented pandemic, our network has led the way in innovation, resourcefulness and ensuring the protection of our patients and team members:
- The network was the first in the state to require universal masking in hospitals
- We implemented a vaccine mandate to keep team members and communities safe, achieving a 99.8% vaccination rate, one of the highest in the nation.
- HMH was the first in the state to implement universal testing of team members who worked in long-term care facilities before New Jersey mandated such protections.
- We invested millions in the supply chain to source and track PPE throughout the globe at the beginning of the pandemic. We had and continue to have ample supplies including gowns, gloves, N-95 masks, surgical masks, face shields and other essential protection.
- Our clinical leaders also updated front-line teams in real time on rapidly changing protocols from the CDC regarding proper use of PPE.
We also put the health and well-being of our communities and patients first. According to the Lown Institute Hospitals Index, Hackensack Meridian Health ranks sixth in the nation and first in New Jersey with a $74 million fair share surplus, meaning the health system spends more in charity care and community investments than the value of its tax exemption.